Saturday, July 14, 2012

Basis of Philippine Claim to the Scarborough Shoal

A short contribution to Wikipedia. Thanks to Jemy Gatdula for explaining these points to me. 

The Philippines claim is based on the juridical criteria established by public international law on the lawful methods for the acquisition of sovereignty. Among the criteria (effective occupation, cession, prescription,conquest, and accretion), the Philippines said that the country "exercised both effective occupation and effective jurisdiction over Bajo de Masinloc since its independence." Thus, it claims to have erected flags in some islands and a lighthouse which it reported to the International Maritime Organization. It also asserts that the Philippine and US Naval Forces have used it as impact range and that its Department of Environment and Natural Resources has conducted scientific, topographic and marine studies in the shoal, while Filipino fishermen regularly use it as fishing ground and have always considered it their own.
It said that "The name Bajo de Masinloc (translated as "under Masinloc") itself identifies the shoal as a particular political subdivision of the Philippine Province of Zambales, known as Masinloc." As basis, the Philippines cites the Island of Palmas Case, where the sovereignty of the island was adjudged by the international court in favor of the Netherlands because of its effective jurisdiction and control over the island despite the historic claim of Spain. Thus, the Philippines argues that the historic claim of China over the Scarborough Shoal still needs to be substantiated by a historic title, since a claim by itself is not among the internationally recognized legal basis for acquiring sovereignty over territory.
It also asserts that "there is no indication that the international community has acquiesced to China's so-called historical claim," and that the activity of fishing of private Chinese individuals, claimed to be a "traditional" exercise among these waters, does not constitute a sovereign act of the Chinese State.
Since the legal basis of its claim is based on the international law on acquisition of sovereignty, the Philippine government explains that its Exclusive Economic Zone claim on the waters around Scarborough is different from the sovereignty exercised by the Philippines in the shoal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reawakening enthusiasm for real-life practice of faith: CBCP Pastoral Letter on the Era of New Evangelization, 9 July 2012

A few days ago, the CBCP announced a nine year "spiritual journey" towards the 500th year anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines on 16 March 1521 with the arrival of Magellan.

This spiritual journey, focused on the New Evangelization, seeks to reawaken enthusiasm for the "real-life practice" of the faith. It is a beautiful way to be faithfully aligned with the desires of the Pope who just declared a Year of Faith. Thus, the journey starts on 21 October 2012, ten days after the start of the Year of Faith, and ends on 16 March 2021, a Jubilee Year.

These are exciting times.

Read the document here.

CBCP Pastoral Letter on the Era of New Evangelization


Looking Forward to Our Five Hundredth

Go and make disciples... (Mt. 28:19)

We look forward with gratitude and joy to March 16, 2021, the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity to our beloved land. We remember with thanksgiving the first Mass celebrated in Limasawa Island on Easter Sunday March 31 that same blessed year. We remember the baptism of Rajah Humabon who was given his Christian name Carlos and his wife Hara Amihan who was baptized Juana in 1521. Our eyes gaze on the Santo NiƱo de Cebu, the oldest religious icon in the Philippines, gift of Ferdinand Magellan to the first Filipino Catholics that same year. Indeed the year 2021 will be a year of great jubilee for the Church in the Philippines.

We shall therefore embark on a nine-year spiritual journey that will culminate with the great jubilee of 2021. It is a grace-filled event of blessings for the Church starting October 21, 2012 until March 16, 2021.

How opportune indeed that on October 21 this year, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will add another Filipino to the canon of saints of the Church, our very own Visayan proto-martyr Pedro Calungsod who gave his life for the faith on the morning of April 2, 1672 in Guam.

The canonization of Pedro Calungsod will take place under the brilliant light of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the twentieth year of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the declaration of the Year of Faith from October 11, 2012 until November 24, 2013 by the Holy Father. The XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops with the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” will take place in Rome from October 7 to 28 this year.


All these events happening this year are bound together by the themes of “faith” and “evangelization”. Evangelization indicates proclamation, transmission and witnessing to the Gospel given to humanity by our Lord Jesus Christ and the opening up of people’s lives, society, culture and history to the Person of Jesus Christ and to His living community, the Church.

This “New Evangelization” is primarily addressed to those who have drifted from the Faith and from the Church in traditionally Catholic countries, especially in the West.

What we are being called to do by this task of “New Evangelization” in Asia is to consider anew “the new methods and means for transmitting the Good News” more effectively to our people. We are challenged anew to foster in the Church in our country a renewed commitment and enthusiasm in living out the Gospel in all the diverse areas of our lives, in “real-life practice”, challenged anew to become more and more authentic witnesses of our faith, especially to our Asian neighbors as a fruit of our intensified intimacy with the Lord.


The task stands on four pillars:

First, fostering and fulfilling the “missio ad gentes”, as a special vocation of the Church in our country, effectively involving our laypeople, our “Christifideles” brothers and sisters; our priests and seminarians; men and women in consecrated life.

Secondly, “bringing Good News to the poor.” Again and again, Filipino Catholics coming together to discern priorities, have seen that the Church here must become genuinely “a Church for and with the poor.”

Thirdly, reaching out to those among us whose faith-life has been largely eroded and even lost due to the surrounding confusion, moral relativism, doubt, agnosticism; reaching out to those who have drifted from the Faith and the Church, and have joined other religious sects.

Lastly, awakening or reawakening in faith, forming and animating in Christian life our young people and youth sector groups, in both urban and rural settings; A nine-year journey for the New Evangelization has already been charted climaxing with the Jubilee Year 2021: Integral Faith Formation (2013); the Laity (2014); the Poor (2015); the Eucharist and of the Family (2016); the Parish as a Communion of Communities (2017); the Clergy and Religious (2018); the Youth (2019); Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue (2020); Missio ad gentes (2021). These are the nine pastoral priorities of the Church in the Philippines.

In the time before us, we will focus on these dimensions of faith, evangelization and discipleship, one by one. And it is most propitious that as we received the faith 500 years ago, so with the Year 2021we envision to become a truly sending Church.

In the face of a secularism which in some parts of our present world has itself become a kind of a “dominant religion”, in the face of the reality of billions who live in our time and who have not truly encountered Jesus Christ nor heard of His Gospel, how challenged we are, how challenged we must be, to enter into the endeavor of the “New Evangelization”! We for whom Jesus has been and is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life, -- how can we not want and long and share Him with brothers and sisters around us who are yet to know and love Him, who are yet to receive the fullness of Life for which we have all been created, and without which their hearts will be ever restless – until they find Jesus and His heart which awaits them?

May our Lady, Mary Mother of Our Lord, lead us all in our longing and labors to bring her son Jesus Christ into our time and our world, our Emmanuel – our God who remains with us now and yet whose coming again in glory we await.

Maranatha, AMEN.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+ JOSE S. PALMA, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu President July 9, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations

By Mary Eberstadt and Mary Anne Layden


FINDING ONE Unlike at any other time in history, pornography is now available and consumed widely in our society, due in large part to the internet. No one remains untouched by it.

FINDING TWO There is abundant empirical evidence that this pornography is qualitatively different from any that has gone before, in several ways: its ubiquity, the use of increasingly realistic streaming images, and the increasingly “hard-core” character of what is consumed.

FINDING THREE Today’s consumption of internet pornography can harm women in particular.

--Women typically feel betrayal, loss, mistrust,devastation, and anger as a result of the discovery of a partner’s pornography use and/or online sexual activity.

--A markedly increased likelihood of divorce and break-up

--Heightened health risks as a result of the increased likelihood of the consumer’s exposure to other partners.

FINDING FOUR Today’s consumption of internet pornography can harm children in particular.

FINDING FIVE Today’s consumption of internet pornography can harm people not immediately connected to consumers of pornography.




FINDING SIX The consumption of internet pornography can harm its consumers.





FINDING SEVEN Pornography consumption is philosophically and morally problematic.

FINDING EIGHT The fact that not everyone is harmed by pornography does not entail that pornography should not be regulated.

Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals

By ARTHUR C. BROOKS, Published: July 7, 2012, in the New York Times

WHO is happier about life — liberals or conservatives? The answer might seem straightforward. After all, there is an entire academic literature in the social sciences dedicated to showing conservatives as naturally authoritarian, dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity, fearful of threat and loss, low in self-esteem and uncomfortable with complex modes of thinking. And it was the candidate Barack Obama in 2008 who infamously labeled blue-collar voters “bitter,” as they “cling to guns or religion.” Obviously, liberals must be happier, right?

Wrong. Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge. Many data sets show this. For example, the Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives. This pattern has persisted for decades. The question isn’t whether this is true, but why.

Many conservatives favor an explanation focusing on lifestyle differences, such as marriage and faith.

Read the rest here.

Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “The Road to Freedom” and “Gross National Happiness.”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dramatic rise in premarital sex due to contraception or RH: From 6% in 1900 to 75% of women today!

Three out of four women are now engaging in premarital sex in the US compared with only 6% in 1900 due to contraceptive technology, according to a University of Pennsylvania research.

Social Change: The Sexual Revolution.

Greenwood, Jeremy and Nezih Guner. 2009.

University of Pennsylvania


In 1900 only six percent of unwed females engaged in premarital sex. Now, three quarters do.

The sexual revolution is studied here using an equilibrium matching model, where the costs of premarital sex fall over time due to technological improvement in contraceptives.

1 Introduction

There may be no better illustration of social change than the sexual revolution that occurred during the 20th century. In 1900 almost no unmarried teenage girl engaged in premarital sex; only a paltry 6 percent By 2002 a large majority (roughly 75 percent) had experienced this. What caused this: the contraception revolution. (Sources for the U.S. data displayed in all …figures and tables are detailed in the Appendix, Section 12.5.)

Both the technology for contraception and education about its practice changed dramatically over the course of the last century.

Another reflection of the change in sexual mores is the rise in the number of sexual partners that unmarried females have. For women born between 1933 and 1942, the majority of those who engaged in premarital sex had only one partner by age 20, presumably their future husband. By the 1963-1972 cohort, the majority of these women had at least 2 partners.

Notwithstanding the great improvement in contraception technology and education, the number of out-of-wedlock births to females rose from 3 percent in 1920 to 33 percent in 1999. Despite great public concern about teenage sexual behavior in recent years, there has not been any attempt to build formal models of it. The current work will attempt to fill this void.